- Subfamily: Pyraustinae
- Wingspan: 22-34 mm
- Flight period: May - Ago
- Spread: Common
- Host plants: Asteraceae, Chenopodiaceae, Fabaceae ...
The Sitochroa verticalis also called Lesser Pearl is a moth of the Crambidae family, subfamily Pyraustinae, with a wingspan of 22-34 mm.
In Europe it is widespread but absent from Ireland and Ukraine. In Italy it is also present in Sicily, but not in Sardinia. *
The wings are pale yellow with pale ocher geometric designs. The main drawings consist of three darker transverse lines; the internal line is indented, the median line is wavy and less evident while the external line is finely serrated, in the median area two small round spots are also visible The hind wings are straw yellow in color, with two bands given by brown dusting, the outermost in the submarginal region stops near the internal corner, The second starts from the subcostal vein and ends at about the middle of the wing. All these wings are fringed in straw yellow with some brown shades.
Head, thorax and abdomen are in the background color of the front wings.
Uni or bivoltine this moth flies from May to August depending on the position, prefers calcareous soils and pastures, tends to disappear from areas with high intensity of cultivation. When disturbed during the day, it quickly finds a new hiding place usually by placing the upper side of the wings down.
The underside of the wings has very dark checkerboard patterns, a feature that distinguishes it from similar species such as Ostrinia nubilalis .
The caterpillar is green in color, with a series of black points, pupillate on each segment; a darker line surrounded by white/ yellowish is visible above. The head is ocher with more or less intense brown spots, as well as the prothoracic shield. The pupa envelope has an ovoid shape covered with soil and sand, The pupa is yellow-orange with an elongated shape, two black spots (eyes) on the upper part and 4 small "hairs" on the lower vertex. **
The larvae are polyphagous and feed on Asteraceae, such as Centaurea sp. and Cirsium arvense, Brassicaceae as Diplotaxis sp. Chenopodiaceae as Atriplex sp., Fabaceae as Cytisus scoparius, Lamiaceae coem Teucrium Polygonaceae like Rumex sp., Urticaceae like urtica sp. and Violaceae as Viola odorata.
* Lepidoptera mundi https://lepidoptera.eu/ - Fauna Europea https://fauna-eu.org/
** Bestimmungshilfe für die in Europa nachgewiesenen Schmetterlingsarten - http://lepiforum.de/